Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Woodbridge Run for Pizza 4 Miler, Woodbridge, NJ. 7/11/12

I haven't raced, truly, since I blew up my foot in a 15k in late April.  I did go out to Ice Age 50 Miler in Wisconsin, but I knew before I even left New Jersey that I was not ready for the distance.

I have spent time recovering, rebuilding, and recently hitting the track for speed work.  Wednesdays are speed work days.  However, when I discovered my town had a 4 miler 2 miles from my house, I had to make this my "base-line"speed test run and see where I stand.  

The last fast race I ran was a 5k in early April, where I hit a 6:35 pace. I was a little lighter and a lot more confident then.  I hesitated about this race all day, because I did not want to put on those same racing flats I wore when I tore up my foot at the 4 mile mark of a 15k and do it all over again.  Also, I was pleased with my last 5k and I did not want to go out and discover that I lost to much speed.  I could not believe how anxious this race made me.  I decided to wear my Garmin so I can have data to help me pace.  That was a comfort.

I thought about running over to the race, but I wanted a few warm up miles in my trainers before swapping into my racing flats.  I also did not want to be stuck having to hobble home, if I blew up my foot again.  Once there, I learned that miss racing local runs.  This race had about 300 runners and I did not see a lot of familiar faces.  I have been out the local racing scene a little too long.  I need to do this more.

I met my friend Martin, who I haven't seen since the 15k.  We did our warm up together.  I always love hanging out with Martin at races.  

I wasn't sure where to line up.  At the start, I saw Ross, who calls me "Asthma" since he met me in a race while my asthma was so bad he thought I was going to need help.   I got in the second row, behind Martin, who is good at clearing the way.   Ross asked what my goal was.  I said I wasn't sure and he said "Really, YOU have no idea?"  :)   I confessed that I had a range... any where from sub-8 through sub-7 pace.   Secretly, I did want to break 7 but I wasn't really sure I could. 

I was grateful for the cooler temperatures, in the mid-80's today. It was still a little humid but not too bad at all.  The race started and I filed in behind the first place woman.  Just like last year, in the same place, I pulled up next to Esly whom I haven't seen since last year.   I asked how he felt (noticing the one calf sleeve) and he said "Good".  He asked me how I was, and I said "So, so".  Then he dropped a little psychological grenade which I can only assume was him trying to give me an edge.  He asked "So, you gonna break 25 today?"  I smiled and said "Not today.  Today I am playing."  He said, "We are on pace for 25?"  I said, "Yes, well, you know me.  This is how it starts.  This is how they all start. Then I fade."  First place woman pulled a little bit away and Esly whispered, "Just sit on her til the end"... I whispered back, "That's the plan." Then I pulled away from Esly. 

We hit the overpass and I looked at my pace and it had dropped too slow.  Sitting wasn't going to be a good idea if running easy would allow me to pass her.   I made a move, but settled back into 6:45 pace.  

I grabbed a cup of water at the mile 1 stop.  I usually wear my Garmin on the inside of my wrist, but I moved it to the top of my wrist today.  Don't know why.  When I saw the Mile 1 mark and needed to split the watch, I had just got handed water.  In a move of sheer brilliance, I grabbed the water in my left hand and proceeded to instantly DUMP out almost all of it as I turned my wrist so I could tap the split buttons.  I am sure the cup lady was either LOL or WTF as she watched my excellent decision making skills.  I hit split, salvaging a small swig of water.  I immediately recalled why I wear  the watch "upside down" and vowed to never wear the Garmin the right way again.  Mile 1 was 6:38. 

First place woman made a move back and passed me.  I decided to try the "Sit and Wait" strategy again.  I kept her in range as we moved along.  I ran a pace that felt like I was almost running too fast.  I made an effort to feel challenged but comfortable.  My middle two miles were 6:51 and 6:52 and very relaxed. First place woman would pull further ahead, then I would make up ground, and she would pull ahead again.  But as the minutes passed, I could sense her drifting out of range.

Mile 3 was clicked off at the top of the return trip over the overpass. As we hit that last mile, we both picked up a bit. It was here my asthma finally made an appearance. I felt tingly and uncomfortable.  I knew I could not kick the entire way in.  I decided that when I had a half mile to go, I would try to catch her.  At a half mile to go, I caught the guy ahead of me, who then battled me back and beat me by a second.  However, first place woman was a wonderful competitor and dropped the hammer in that last mile, taking the lead by 11 seconds.  My last mile was 6:43.  I looked back and Esly was just 1 second behind.  

It was a fun race. Having her there always 5-10 seconds ahead of me really motivated me.  Having my Garmin did help me run an evenly paced race.  I love the feeling of a good road race and I think I need to pop into a few more of these! :)

16 OA/ 303 runner
2nd F
6:46 pace

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